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Thread: How do you say, "everything to nothing" in russian?

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    How do you say, "everything to nothing" in russian?

    I am going to get a tattoo that reads "everything to nothing" in russian. Can someone please help with translation? I asked a friend that was born in the ukraine and she said the closest thing was "everything for nothing".

    Thanks.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    "everything" in Russian is "всё".

    If you elaborate what exactly do you mean as "everything to nothing" then we can try to find something adequate in Russian.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Завсегдатай BappaBa's Avatar
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    Всё напрасно?

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    it means, you work hard to get everything but in the end you have nothing. kind of a morbid outlook on life. you work, and stress all through light to just die in the end.

    hope that helps.

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    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Sayings like that are not translated directly. A close equivalent is used instead. But there's no equivalents to this one I know of. Perhaps В гробу карманов нет - there's no pockets in a coffin will fit.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    well here, this is what my friend from the ukraine was able to come up with.


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    everything for (the sake of) nothing

    it could be also
    всё напрасно
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    so is the one my friend wrote pretty close?

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    All in vain, I suppose...

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    Quote Originally Posted by everythingtonothing View Post
    well here, this is what my friend from the ukraine was able to come up with.

    sounds cool, and grammatically correct, it sounds philosophical, kind of life verdict, from the point of view of grammar it's OK, and to me as a speaker of Russian it's laconic and cool. Though, pessimistic)) but that's i guess what you really mean to say by 'everything to nothing'.

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    yeah, kind of been a motto of mine lately. it seems we work so hard all through life to attain, riches to only die in the end and have nothing. it is very pessimistic but oh well lol thank you all for helping me figure this out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by everythingtonothing View Post
    it means, you work hard to get everything but in the end you have nothing.
    Then, it could be translated as "всё впустую" ("*** без толку/напрасно/зря/тщетно).
    //note, all those variants have different feelings for listener/reader, but absolutely same meaning

    "всё впустую" is like all your acts gone to empty space (something alike, don't know how to say correctly)
    "*** без толку" - ... had no sence
    "** напрасно/зря" - ...

    __
    wait, translator said "зря = for nothing"

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Question: Could всё на х*й or всё на фиг be used with the same meaning as всё зря?

    (It seems to me that if one is going to get a tattoo like a sailor, one should cuss like a sailor!)

    P.S. As long as I'm on the subject, what is the exact difference between моряк and матрос? Can they both be used when talking about "the Navy" in military contexts?
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Hi, Throbert!

    всё на х*й and всё на фиг don't have exact meaning and can be used mostly as exclamations in case of anger, irritation.
    besides, всё на х*й is very rude as it contains the rudest Russian word

    всё зря - is neutral and can be substituted by всё к черту, всё пошло к чёрту (lit., all went to devil), meaning 'it was in vain'

    моряк is a job, profession (general word for any sailor)
    матрос is technically a military rank if it's a military vessel,

    but if on a civil vessel this means a specialist responsible for some non-navigation duties on the vessel (cleaning, painting, general works, taking care of the ship).

    There is also a military rank (on military vessels) - старший матрос (senior sailor, literally).

    You can use both words for "the Navy". Моряки would probably be used by most as it's means collectively just all sailors in the Navy on all types of ships regardless of their ranks and duties.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Question: Could всё на х*й or всё на фиг be used with the same meaning as всё зря?
    No, the first two phrases most probably should be translated as "To hell everything!" (depending on context)

    P.S. As long as I'm on the subject, what is the exact difference between моряк and матрос? Can they both be used when talking about "the Navy" in military contexts?
    Yes. Basically, моряк is everyone who sails while матрос is a subordinate employee (or serviceman) on a ship (both civil and military) who most probably wears a uniform. Captain of the ship is not матрос but моряк as well as field officers.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation of моряк and матрос. I suppose that моряк would best be translated as "sailor" (which is a more general term) while матрос is best translated as "seaman" -- which is sometimes synonymous with "sailor," but can also be a specific term of rank in the navies and civil fleets of the US, UK, and other English-speaking countries. (In the US Navy, for example, a "Seaman" is approximately equivalent to a "Private" in the Army or Marine Corps.)
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    (In the US Navy, for example, a "Seaman" is approximately equivalent to a "Private" in the Army or Marine Corps.)
    that makes sense. the same in the Russian Army (рядовой and матрос)

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    Подающий надежды оратор lexxalex's Avatar
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    На эту тему есть русская пословица: Переливать из пустого в порожнее. (Заниматься бессмысленным занятием)

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    Hey guys! I had another question regarding this. In the image below there are the accents above the first "E" and I was wondering if that was correct or should it be a "e" with the accents?

    ТАТТОО.jpg

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by everythingtonothing View Post
    Hey guys! I had another question regarding this. In the image below there are the accents above the first "E" and I was wondering if that was correct or should it be a "e" with the accents?
    It should be ВСЁ РАДИ НИЧЕГО (if you want all caps) or Всё Ради Ничего (each word capped) or Всё ради ничего (only first word capped) or всё ради ничего (all lower case) -- but in any event, the first "e" has two dots over it. If you write все without dots over the "е", the pronounciation of the word changes a bit, and it means "everybody/everyone" not "everything."

    But by the way, I'd suggest a completely different "translation" that may or may not be appropriate for what you want:

    Суета сует, сказал Екклесиаст, суета сует -- всё суета!

    This is the standard Russian translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2, which in modern English can be rendered:

    "The most time-wasting of wastes-of-time," said the holy teacher, "the most pointless of all pointlessness! Everything is meaningless and trivial!"

    However, most English speakers are more familiar with the old-fashioned phrasing from the "King James Version" (KJV), which incidentally was completed in 1611 and thus just celebrated its 400th birthday:

    "Vanity of vanities," saith the Preacher, "vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

    P.S. Since this is for a tattoo, you can just shorten it to:

    Суета сует, всё суета!

    Which is rather musical in Russian, and pronounced:

    soo-yet-TAH
    soo-YET
    f's-YOH
    soo-yet-TAH
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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